President Edgar Lungu has advised farmers that as they sell their produces, they should negotiate for better prices that will help them cover the production expenses as well as realise a good profit.
And President Lungu has reminded small scale farmers to be mindful of securing their produce for household consumption as they sell the excess.
Speaking during the official opening of the 2018 92nd Agriculture and Commercial Show, President Lungu also called on the private sector to increase investments in agro-processing and add value to raw agro products.
“Let me now take this opportunity to congratulate the farmers for the hard work during the 2017/2018 agricultural season. This is despite the effects of the prolonged dry spells which affected most parts of the country, especially in January 2018. In the same vein, I wish to remind all our farmers particularly the small-scale farmers to be mindful of securing their produce for household consumption as they conduct their marketing. As you sell, my advice to you is that you should negotiate for better prices to cover your production costs and realise a good profit. In doing so, you will get maximum benefits from your farming enterprises,” President Lungu said.
He further urged the private sector to adopt new but cost efficient ways of adding value to agricultural produce and extractive industries.
“The Theme for this year’s show is ‘sustainable Economic Empowerment.’ This Theme is in line with government’s aspirations espoused in the second national agricultural policy (SNAP) to have “an efficient, competitive and sustainable agricultural sector, which assures food and nutrition security, increased employment opportunities and incomes. The Theme is ideal in stimulating appropriate policy interventions in commerce, trade and industry. In this regard, I urge the private sector to adopt new but cost efficient ways of adding value to our agricultural produce and extractive industries. This approach will ensure Zambia remains competitive and gain increased market share in the domestic, regional and international markets. I note that despite the positive contribution of micro, small and medium enterprises, to social-economic development, their steady growth is being hindered by numerous challenges. The challenges include high cost of finance, inadequate marketing skills, application of inappropriate technologies, and inadequate business and entrepreneurial skills. All these adversely affect sustainable economic empowerment as new and old companies fail to compete favourably in a dynamic market environment,” he said.
“On commerce and trade, my government values the importance of adopting efficient ways and promoting initiatives aimed at accelerating sustainable economic empowerment. This is an integral component of ensuring sustainable development and promoting diversification. Sustainable economic development in our country will be anchored on effective economic management and prudent utilization of our abundant natural resources. It is for this reason that ‘competitiveness and innovation’ has been highlighted as one of the strategic objectives in the Seventh National Development Plan 2017-2021.”
He said government was providing financing at affordable interest rates as a way of promoting sustainable economic empowerment and inclusive growth without leaving any company behind.
“In order to promote sustainable economic empowerment and ensure inclusive growth without leaving any company behind, my government through relevant institutions is undertaking the following programmes and initiatives; developing and implementing innovative projects aimed at supporting micro, small and medium enterprises to build capacity and address supply-side constraints; Government is providing financing at affordable interest rates through an established credit facility at citizens economic empowerment commission; and the enactment of the movable property (security interest) Act N0. 6 of 2016 which seeks to promote movable property based lending and ultimately increasing access to credit by micro and small scale businesses in particular,” said President Lungu.
And President Lungu also congratulated Lusaka Mayor Miles Sampa on his election.